Responding toFamine

2011 was a year of hunger.

Drought consumed East Africa and the Horn of Africa in 2011, causing famine in parts of Somalia and fueling a massive refugee crisis. Thirteen million people suffered from acute food shortages and tens of thousands died.

But it was also a year of action.

As refugees poured over the Somali border into Kenya, AJWS made emergency grants to Kenyan grassroots organizations that provided humanitarian aid and emergency medical services. Our grantees also worked in the Dadaab refugee camp to stop the spread of cholera and curb violence against women.

Our famine response promoted sustainable solutions to hunger.

AJWS supported the distribution of locally produced food instead of food aid shipped all the way from the U.S. In this way, our grantees were able to support local farms in East Africa—an important step in bolstering food security for the future. Most countries—with the exception of our own—now realize that strengthening local food systems is the most effective way of fending off hunger over the long term. In fact, the U.S. is one of the only major aid providers worldwide that requires the sending of American food rather than having the flexibility to buy it near the crisis site when it is available.

We believe that supporting local farmers in developing countries with our food aid dollars is vitally important, and that's why convincing the U.S. to reform its food aid policy has been AJWS's key advocacy campaign of 2011 and 2012.

While the famine is officially over in Somalia, the struggle against hunger and the many factors that cause it is ongoing. AJWS continues to work in the region and in other communities facing hunger around the world, helping to strengthen local food security and build resilience to future disasters.

To learn more about our campaign to reform U.S. food aid policy, skip to Reversing Hunger.

About AJWS

Inspired by Judaism's commitment to justice, American Jewish World Service works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world.

About this report

This is a Web-only annual report. No paper, period! This change saved AJWS thousands of dollars that we can now spend fighting poverty and defending human rights. Going online also saved 30 tons of wood and 206,173 gallons of water. It prevented 18,575 lbs of greenhouse gases from polluting our air and kept 23,443 lbs of solid waste out of our landfills! Now that's savings we're proud of.